ABC7 at 7 - Customers say a local contractor is on the run with thousands of their dollars

Customers say a local contractor is on the run with thousands of their dollars

SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - In September, ABC7 aired the story of a contractor who customers said has disappeared with thousands of their dollars.

Arthur and Cynthia Borchert owned Trademark Pavers in Sarasota, until August when customers said they disappeared.

This all started when one customer reached out to ABC7. Now, there are several more who have come forward.

"I am just, I'm devastated," said Linda Pearson. "This has never happened to me before with anybody. I'm devastated."

For months, Pearson sent the owners of Trademark Pavers check after check. $7,800 dollars in total, for a job they never did.

"The next thing I knew, the office was closed, the phones got disconnected and I had no alternative but to call the police," Pearson explained.

She's not alone.

"I've lost about $5,600 to them," said Jim Nichol.

"The price was too good to be true," said Mike Bossey.

"$1,495.85," said John Closs of the amount he deposited.

And a $4,533 deposit down from Jim Loring. "Yeah, so that's no small amount," he said.

The list goes on. Mike Bossey has been installing pavers for more than 20 years.

He said after ABC7's initial story exposing Trademark Pavers, their brick suppliers cancelled 30 open accounts with them.

"Apparently, not only have they bamboozled many of these customers, but the brick manufacturers had no idea, from what I'm hearing," Bossey explained. "The big manufacturers, there are three big ones, Tricircle, Flagstone and Tremron. From my understanding, two of the big three cancelled a total of 30 jobs that they had booked with Trademark."

Florida's Construction Lien law states that even if a customer has paid their bill in full, those brick suppliers have the right to put a lien on the customer's home if they are not paid by the contractor for their materials.

That's exactly what Tremron did to Jim Nichol when they didn't get paid by Trademark Pavers.

Jim Nichol said, "I gave them the deposit, and then a month later I found out that a lien had been placed on my house, that they had not paid the supplier. So the money that I had given them for the first job to pay the paver supplier, they had not given that money to the supplier and my house could be foreclosed on."

Nichol said Trademark completed the first job on his pool in April, then he put down a new deposit in June for them to pave his driveway.

By July, a lien had been put on his house, but Arthur and his wife, Cynthia were no where to be found.

"We would keep going over to the business to find out what was going on, I was fairly suspicious," Nichol explained. "I went over there on August the first and there was a sign on the door that they had closed."

But oddly enough, three days later, Jim Loring signed his contract with Trademark Pavers at that same office.

"This was at the beginning of August," Loring explained. "So, I went in and made the deposit with one of their administrative people and that was sort of chaotic, but I went through with it and signed what I needed to sign."

Then Loring paid a $4,500 dollar deposit and also didn't hear from the Borcherts again.

According to a police report by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, the investigating detective was told by the Borcherts that they were in the process of filing for bankruptcy.

But an inside source who worked for the Borcherts told ABC7 that the day they tried to file for bankruptcy, they accepted another deposit.

Another customer named Roger Mensing, who is also suing the Borcherts for work undone, said he got an email from Arthur on August 8th.

It stated, in part, "It is with great remorse that we were unable to continue with our relationship. Despite what you may think, this was not or has ever been our intent. We did not foresee this."

After hearing that, John Closs said he still thinks this was malicious.

"If they're still accepting deposits, you know, they know, they had to know long before they sent that final letter out, that they're out of business, that they're going out of business," Closs said.

In addition to that, in September, Linda Pearson said she got another invoice after already paying the Borcherts that $7,800 dollars for the work they never did.

"I got the balance due from the letter that was emailed to me that I owed another $2,300 dollars," said Pearson.

That was the last any one of the customers has heard from the Borcherts.

"I tried calling them, tried emailing them, nothing," said Closs.

ABC7 called three numbers listed for the Borcherts and their business, all three were out of service. A reporter also went to their house to try to get a response, but no one answered the door.

The three local law enforcement agencies that were looking into this company have consolidated their cases. Manatee County Sheriff's Office gave ABC7 eight reports it took for alleged victims and Sarasota Police had an additional two.

Now, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said it has taken the lead with the several reports it also has received and an open criminal investigation.

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